Let’s be like St. John, the Apostle

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

ON the Feast of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, on December 27, let’s try to capture his youthful love for Christ that would truly help us in our spiritual life. Like him, we should be both most eager to look for Christ and yet restrained to observe what we may also consider as some legitimate earthly protocols.

Yes, let’s be forceful and eager in our love for God and yet know how to be discreet and natural about it, given our human and earthly conditions.

This was shown in that gospel episode where the apostles were told about the empty tomb of Christ, and Peter and John immediately proceeded to check on it, but it was John who arrived at the tomb first. And yet he waited for Peter, the head of the apostles, to arrive before entering into the tomb. (cfr. Jn 20,1-8)

Here we can clearly see how the youthful John is showing the vigor of his love and fidelity to Christ. It was also this kind of love and fidelity that enabled him to be the first one to recognize Christ in that episode where the risen Christ appeared in the shore where the apostles were fishing. (cfr. Jn 21,7)

When the risen Christ at the shore first asked the apostles whether they had caught some fish, they did not at first recognize him. It was John who, by his youthful love for Christ, immediately recognize him. “It is the Lord,” he said.

We have to see to it that our love for Christ is authentic and not just something that we profess but not supported by our deeds. If there is true love, there is some kind of forcefulness and eagerness to do things, even at great cost, that would be unavoidable.

It’s true that where there is love, there is also some kind of forcefulness, an abiding state of being driven despite the variations of our bodily and other earthly conditions. Where there is love, we can only echo what Christ himself said: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12,49)

Where there is love, we would be clear about what the real and ultimate purpose of our life is, we would have a good sense of direction even if we are presented with many alternative options, we would not mind the many difficulties and challenges we can encounter as we go along. In fact, we would find great meaning in them.

This is the ideal condition for all of us. Even if we are endowed only with the most phlegmatic and melancholic temperaments, something must be burning inside our heart that cannot help but burst into a flame, a flame of love, of self-giving, of serving without expecting any return, without counting the cost. If it is not yet there, then let’s enkindle it.

For this Christian instinct to develop in us, we have to learn how to look for Him in everything that we do and handle so we can find him. And finding him, we can be drawn to serve him.  This, I believe, is what loving Christ actually entails.

This should be like a healthy obsession that we have to cultivate. This obviously goes beyond our natural powers. The grace of God is needed, but we should also do our part. Let’s ask the intercession of St. John the Apostle for this intention!

Email: [email protected]